Branding News: Design choice - Marks & Spencer lantern

This piece of design appeals to me on a number of levels. As someone who is not only married to an outdoors type, but also frequently ventures to remote surfing locales in a VW camper van, its nifty innovation is very satisfying. I particularly appreciate the remote control unit that can be fitted to a key ring - very handy for finding your tent on the midnight trek back from the loo. And if you should happen to knock it over on either legs of this treacherous journey, it is robust enough to take the punishment.

Quite apart from having a touch of the 'gherkin' about it (when squinting from a distance on a foggy day, admittedly), I think it bridges the gap between old and new very cleverly.

It is reminiscent of traditional gas lamps, but its styling also fits the contemporary 'camping cool' aesthetic. The stainless steel finish and frosted lens sit very nicely with the sleek, desirable utility-chic look and feel that has made Maglite torches and Sigg bottles essential bits of kit.

But let's face it, most of the city slickers who buy this stuff haven't seen a patch of green in years and this is where this lantern comes into its own. Its steel look and sleek lines resonate visually with many of the urbanite's stylish domestic appliance essentials - Smeg fridge, Bang & Olufsen TV, Dualit toaster et al.

Having well and truly ticked the display-worthiness box, the lantern will no doubt find its place on the patios and in the gardens of many a tentless, Kendal Mint Cake-free household.

- Designer Smallfry.


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